Sen. Brady settles drunk driving case

Could see charges dismissed in a year

Updated at 5:18 p.m.

SEN. MICHAEL BRADY of Brockton on Tuesday avoided the hazards of a criminal trial in connection with his March 2018 drunk driving arrest, agreeing to a settlement that could pave the way for all charges eventually being dismissed.

Under the terms of the agreement, Brady will see his license suspended for 45 days, participate in a driver-alcohol education program, pay multiple fines totaling at least hundreds of dollars, and remain on probation for a year. If he stays out of trouble, the charges will be dismissed in one year.

The settlement provided Brady some certainty in his punishment, and foreclosed a trial which would have been widely covered and could have subjected him to further embarrassment. Numerous reporters as well as television and still photographers assembled under the fluorescent lights of Courtroom B in Quincy District Court in anticipation of a trial Tuesday morning.

Senate President Karen Spilka, who was elected to her position after Brady’s arrest, has been laconic about whether the Brockton Democrat could face any sanction in the chamber, where he co-chairs the Public Service Committee.

Sen. Michael Brady of Brockton

“I think that the judicial process will wend its way, and we’ll see what ends up happening,” Spilka told reporters on Monday.

Later on Tuesday, Spilka said she wanted more information and to consult with other members of the Senate before deciding what course to take.

“The Senate takes this matter very seriously and we will want to review all the facts laid out in the transcript of this morning’s proceedings, when it is available,” Spilka said in a statement. “I will need to consult the members of the Senate once those facts have been made available to determine next steps.  The Senate will have no further comment on this matter at this time.”

Brady, who was first elected in 2015 and is now 57, failed multiple field sobriety tests conducted by Weymouth Police when he was stopped after 2 a.m. on Saturday, March 24.

Brady admitted to sufficient facts on Tuesday and told the judge that a brief summary of the incident read by prosecutor David Way was accurate. Brady’s admission is distinct from a guilty plea.

In those early morning hours, another driver had alerted the police and trailed the senator’s gray Chevrolet Sonic off of the interstate and onto Main Street because he was swerving all over the road.

Officer Christopher Dangelo reported that Brady had bloodshot and glassy eyes, a “thousand-yard stare,” and smelled strongly of alcoholic beverages, according to the criminal complaint. Slurring his words, Brady spoke to the officer and told him he had been at a work event in Boston, and had been drinking.

When Dangelo told Brady he would give him a roadside test, Brady produced a state ID card and said he was a state senator. The officer continued with the sobriety tests, and noted that Brady appeared unsteady on his feet.

When Dangelo asked Brady to say the alphabet, the senator slurred his way to H, I, J, then repeated H, I, J, then gave the police a “look of confusion” and arrived at Z. When the officer conducted a vision test, rather than follow the pen with his eyes, as instructed, Brady “just stared at” the officer.

Brady also failed to properly count backwards from 60 to 40 and “kept repeating numbers in the 40s;” failed to keep his balance when instructed to stand on one foot; and lost his balance after the third step of a walking test, according to the officer. At the police station, Brady declined to take a breath-alcohol test, and his driver’s license was suspended.

Brady’s court appearance on Tuesday was fairly mundane. He wore a light blue suit, and soon after Judge Daniel DiLorati took the bench, Brady’s lawyer Jack Diamond said the two sides would present the judge with a proposed settlement.

Brady declined comment outside court, but later issued a statement where he expressed regret for his actions, took responsibility and said he knows he needs help confronting alcohol abuse.

“Like many who have made the decision to confront alcohol abuse I understand that this is a problem for which I need help,” Brady said. “I am thankful for the love and support of my family and so many friends as I seek to improve my life, literally one day at a time.”

After his court appearance, Brady hopped into the passenger side of a gray Sonic – the same color and model of car he was driving during the incident. License suspensions begin 10 days after the Registry of Motor Vehicles issues a suspension notice, according to the Department of Transportation.

Brady had been charged with driving while intoxicated, negligent operation of a car, and committing a marked lanes violation. The heftiest of those charges – drunk driving – carries a maximum penalty of up to two and a half years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. Under the agreement, known as continued without finding, the negligent driving charge was dismissed and Brady is deemed not responsible for the marked lanes violation, according to his lawyer.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

On Dec. 4, 1998, Brady was charged with driving while intoxicated by Weymouth Police, according to the criminal complaint, but Diamond said that charge does not appear on his Board of Probation record. Even assuming the drunk driving charge is dismissed next June, it would count as a first offense if he were to be arrested for the same charge again, Diamond said. Drunk-driving penalties escalate upon subsequent offenses.

Some, including Gov. Charlie Baker, have advocated for legislation requiring first-time drunk driving offenders to use ignition interlock devices that make it harder for people to drive while intoxicated.